You’re never far from a four-star meal in Istanbul, whether you’re in the mood for a bite of baklava or a memorable gourmet experience. The city’s dining scene is fresher than ever, with the farm-to-table trend in full force.
Mahalo Coffee Shop
Experience the closest thing to tropical bliss in ancient Istanbul with a visit to laid-back Mahalo, which takes its name from the Hawaiian word for gratitude. Inside, you’ll find a collection of art books, chilled-out music, copious greenery and a friendly vibe. Coffee connoisseurs can get their fix with a selection of cold-brewed infusions and expertly prepared lattes. If you have a sweet tooth, don't miss the chance to sample the in-house pastry chef’s seasonal creations, like pumpkin cheesecake and dark chocolate brownies. Grab a bag of freshly toasted granola to pop in your bag for later so you can experience Mahalo on the go.
Mahalo is only one of the new generation of trendy cafes in Karaköy, where hardware stores are rapidly transforming into clever bars and quirky coffeehouses. Another is Heisenberg, named after Walter White’s alter ego in Breaking Bad. You’ll find nods to this cult favorite everywhere, including condiment-filled test tubes and yellow aprons used in the décor. Whether or not you’re a fan of the TV show, the tasty burgers are a worth a try; they're handcrafted from a blend of beef and lamb, seasoned with sea salt and served up with thick-cut fries. The meticulous attention to detail would make Heisenberg himself proud.
You’re bound to become a convert to the slow-food movement after a meal at Neolokal. Headed by Chef Maksut Aşkar, Neolokal is committed to using local and sustainably sourced ingredients. Located inside the ornate SALT Galata arts venue – a former Ottoman bank – Neolokal has an open kitchen, allowing diners to watch the chefs work their magic. There’s also a sun-soaking garden on the terrace, where the restaurant grows its own greens. The menu is focused on exploring local heritage, whether that’s with a luscious lamb-and-beet borani with salted yogurt or an upscale lentil soup with poached grouper and crisps.
Enjoy the flavors of Turkish street cuisine with a Greek twist at Gümrük, evoking a timeless vibe with its black-and-white photographs and artfully displayed crockery. Opened by Yaşar Kartoğlu, former owner of area favorite Ara Café, this stylish restaurant specializes in fresh seafood adorned with market spices and produce. Specials change daily, but they might include spicy crayfish, hibiscus-stuffed clams or artichoke orzo. Take a half-hour drive along the coast from our Radisson Blu Conference & Airport Hotel, Istanbul to enjoy the seaside views as you tuck into the catch of the day.
Escape the bustling streets of Istanbul with a visit to the tranquil garden oasis of Noi, housed in a former French orphanage in the heart of Bebeköy. This is a top spot for a leisurely brunch: the menu includes basil-scented fruit salads, hearty flourless pancakes and decadent honey on the comb. The dinner menu features an innovative mix of garden-fresh dishes, including a to-die-for tomato tarte tatin and quail stuffed with a ricotta-and-pear chutney. There's also a pasta-heavy children's menu for the little ones.